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'First win from Raebareli' - Garry Kasparov takes dig at Rahul Gandhi over Chess video

Published at :May 4, 2024 at 7:15 PM
Modified at :May 4, 2024 at 7:15 PM
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(Courtesy : @Kasparov63/X and @Amockx2022/X)

Ajay Gandhar

Russian legend’s playful jab at Gandhi ignited social media storm.

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov found himself at the center of an online storm after a cheeky social media remark allegedly aimed at Indian politician Rahul Gandhi went viral.

It started when Kasparov responded to a tweet by a user on X (formerly Twitter). The user had tagged Kasparov and fellow chess legend Viswanathan Anand and wrote that he was relieved that both Kasparov and Anand had retired early and didn’t have to face “the greatest chess genius of our times.”

The user was taking a sly at Congress politician Rahul Gandhi over his chess video where the politician spoke about learning to play chess and beating those that taught him to play.

Kasparov, known for his sharp wit, responded with a pointed remark: “Tradition dictates you should first win from Raebareli before challenging for top!”

The reference to Raebareli, a constituency in Uttar Pradesh, appeared to be a subtle jab at Gandhi, who filed his nomination from there on Friday. Gandhi is also contesting from Wayanad in Kerala in the ongoing Indian general elections.

After his tweet took social media by storm, Kasparov clarified that his “little joke” should not be mistaken for political advocacy or expertise on Indian affairs.

“I very much hope my little joke does not pass for advocacy or expertise in Indian politics!” the Russian grandmaster wrote. “But as an ‘all-seeing monster with 1000 eyes,’ as I was once described, I cannot fail to see a politician dabbling in my beloved game!”

The banter followed a video of Gandhi playing chess on his phone during campaigning, where he named Kasparov as his favourite player, drawing parallels between chess strategies and political maneuvering.

“I like Kasparov. He puts a lot of psychological pressure. He’s a non-linear thinker,” Gandhi stated in the clip.

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Kasparov, the former world champion and the first player to break the 2800 FIDE rating barrier has transitioned into a political activist since retiring. He has been a staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kremlin policies, leading to an arrest warrant being issued against him recently.

While intended as lighthearted wordplay, Kasparov’s viral tweet offered a glimpse into the intersection of chess, politics and the broader public discourse surrounding high-profile figures from both realms.

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